Maryland Periodontics and Dental Implants
7902 Old Branch Ave., Suite 209
Clinton, MD 20735
(301) 856-1200


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Would you believe? Tooth loss and higher risks of strokes!

At least for 4 research groups looked at the possible relationship of tooth loss and a stroke. Information was collected from these studies between 2000 and 2010.

What is a stroke? 

Blood vessels feed our brain (and other organs of the body) oxygen which allow for proper functioning of our brain cells. If the oxygen supply is disrupted, our brain cells basically become damaged and possibly die. 

Did you know there are several types of strokes?

1) Ischemic strokes occur when the blood vessels supplying the brain narrow or become blocked.

If you have Hypertension you may be at risk for an Ischemic stroke. Hypertension is a leading cause of this type of stroke. Almost 87% of all strokes are Ischemic. Ischemic strokes may occur when plaque or blood clots become free in the blood vessels. Some blood vessels are smaller and this eventually blocks the vessel. The blood supply to this part of the brain is essentially cut off and the surrounding cells may die. 

If you have High Cholesterol, your risk for an Ischemic stroke is again increased. Another way the blood vessel becomes blocked is when a blood clot actually forms in one of the vessels supplying the brain due to increased plaque. This type of stroke occurs mostly in people with higher cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. 

2) Hemorrhagic Strokes occur when the blood vessels supplying the brain are weakened or thinner. 

If you have uncontrolled Hypertension you may be at risk for Aneurysms. Aneurysms of the blood vessels are ballooning of the vessel which eventually become weaker. Weaker blood vessels may eventually erupt. An eruption will reduce the blood supply to that part of the brain. Increased pressure on the brain will also cause other symptoms such as headaches, numbing and even loss of function of the body parts controlled by that part of the brain. 

3) Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is also as a mini stroke. It occurs like the others do but the symptoms are temporary and generally lat up to 24 hours. There is generally no permanent damage to the brain cells affected. 

In general, the studies found that Tooth Loss may be related to both Ischemic and Hemorrhagic strokes. 

When it comes to Periodontal disease, one of the most chronic infections, it is the main cause of tooth loss. Periodontal disease has been reported to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease and many studies have looked at the relationship between periodontal disease and/or tooth loss and subsequent stroke. 

These studies all addressed the assumption that tooth loss is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke. 


Bacteria found in gum disease has been found in plaque (the material the builds up in the walls of our blood vessels).

The endotoxin (toxic product) from the bacteria may damage the walls of our blood vessels.

Excessive bacteria causes the release of clotting factors in the blood increasing the chances of the formation of blood clots.

So how do these studies affect us?

Tooth loss is a possible sign of uncontrolled bacteria in our bodies. We should be more aware of these infections and attempt to control this. Seeing the dentist is great start. Following up with suggested methods of control whether that would be professional or at home or both, is important.  Hypertension and elevated levels of cholesterol are significant contributors to strokes themselves with or without gum disease. Definitely more attention should be paid to controlling bacterial infections of the mouth when it comes to gum disease. 

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